The Offbeat Bride: Annette, Empathy Expert (and Offbeat Bride Tribe member)
Her offbeat partner: Matt, GIS Specialist
Date and location of wedding: Nature Friends, Sierra Madre, CA — March 14, 2015
Our offbeat wedding at a glance:
We had so many ideas for the wedding, it was difficult to fit all our nerd creds into one event. We went with Pokemon for the game aspects. We told guests they were Pokemon trainers, and everyone got a “Starter” Pokemon at their place setting when the reception started. They could participate in activities like dancing with the bride or groom, playing a card/board game, or challenging each other to trivia to earn “tradeable” Pokemon.
We cut out over 300 of those little guys and glued them onto black circles that would fit in the custom Pokeball-Pockets in the back of the wedding programs. Guests were trading Pokemon amongst each other and getting more involved to see if they could catch 'em all.
Tell us about the ceremony:
The ceremony was predominantly Pagan, with a close friend of ours officiating as our High Priest. At the point where they normally ask if there are any objections to the union, he surprised all of us by drawing his sword and challenging anyone to speak up.
I wrote the ceremony myself. It included a storytelling aspect when Matt and I called the quarters, perfect for an author and her artist husband.
Our ring box was a Pokeball, of course and we jumped over a broom together at the end, which now hangs by our front door with our handfasting cord wrapped around it.
Tell us about your reception:
My man of honor was a god among men that day. He's my cousin, but he feels like the brother I never had. He did EVERYTHING to make sure I was enjoying myself, and I had an absolute blast. The girlfriends of the officiant and man of honor helped set up and take down all the decorations and made me so blissfully grateful to have such amazing friends in my life.
The best part of the day was being able to dance with everyone. Having that one-on-one time with people I had hardly been able to squeeze into my life during all the wedding prep was so nice. I could have kept dancing the entire night. Matt and I weren't together often during the reception because we were using the time to catch up with our family and friends. To be honest, my favorite memory of the wedding that includes him is actually cuddling with our cat on our couch at home afterward, looking at all the wedding pictures when they arrived. We laughed and cried and had such a good time reliving it.
What was your most important lesson learned?
Weddings can absolutely bring people together. I lost a couple very close friends in the year before the wedding. My mom had surgery just a week before the wedding, and my dad injured his knee the day before the wedding. My sister was eight months pregnant (and has since had a very healthy baby boy!), and my man of honor lives many, many states away. Matt's parents stepped up to fill that void for me, supporting us completely.
A wedding never turns out exactly like you imagined it, but that year of planning and the wedding day did more to illuminate my true friendships than I could have imagined. It was a perfect day, not just because I married the right partner, but because I realized how blessed I am to have so many amazing people in my life. I feel closer to all of them after sharing our intimate ceremony together.
One thing we definitely fell prey to was wanting to do “too much.” I wanted a venue where I could get married under trees, have the reception in the same place, AND where we could drink our own alcohol. That was a really tough combination to find in Los Angeles. We ended up having to make and set up a lot more decorations because I wouldn't compromise on those things. We learned a lot about emotional compromise, though, in the year leading up to the wedding. We were privately handfast for a year and a day before the wedding, and living as husband and wife before we legally tied the knot brought us so much closer by the time the big day came.